“Is that a seal or a spaniel?” I heard a passer-by say on the shores of Mersea Island (she actually said dog but that doesn’t sound as good), as Fletcher effortlessly glided through the water with his head popping up just above sea level.
On a sunny Sunday, we packed a picnic and chew bone and made our way to Mersea Island in Essex, with the intention of picking up some seafood and settling down on a sandy patch for the day. This idea was short lived when a coastal breeze meant it was absolutely freezing, however it didn’t stop Fletcher from running across the beach at full speed and leaping into the sea as though he was some kind of Olympic hero crossing the finishing line for gold.
Fletcher’s obsession with swimming and stones started a couple of years ago when we lived in Ibiza for six months. His daily walks become daily swims and he’d spend hours jumping off cliffs and diving down into the crystal clear water for stones. He’d keep locals and holidaymakers entertained with his antics with people queuing to video and take pictures of him. You can just imagine the reaction of people when they’d pop up with a snorkel and come face to face with a spaniel or when he’d decide that he was going to live the life of luxury and swim up to one of the many boats and yachts moored nearby. And so the nickname ‘scuba spaniel’ was born!
Mersea Island’s sea might not be quite as clear or warm but it didn’t stop him living his best life. As we strolled along the beach, Fletcher chose to swim against the incoming tide for the entire length of the shoreline. Worried he was going to exhaust himself and freeze, we bribed him out with a pile of stones where he spent an hour charging up and down, chasing the stones and skidding in the sand as they landed.
Unable to stand the wind any longer, we grabbed some fresh seafood to go, hopped back in the car and drove 25 minutes to Dedham, a delightful village in Constable Country. We made our way along the picnic lined river banks towards Flatford, where there was no breeze and families basked in the heat. Once away from the crowds, Fletcher was let off lead and wasted no time making his grand entrance with an almighty splash! Much to the amusement of those rowing past.
A day of sticks, stones and swimming meant we left with one very happy puppy! We even got a peaceful evening without him dropping the ball at our feet. Instead he snoozed on the sofa twitching his nose and paws, and sleep squeaking – is there anything cuter than a doggy dreaming?